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Deciding Between Job Offers

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Avoid pitfalls by knowing the hazards you may face

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How to handle the situation and factors to consider before accepting an offer

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Career Resources

Job Search

How to handle the situation and factors to consider before accepting an offer

By Kirsten Malenke

Receiving multiple job offers at the same time is a great problem to have. Although it's certainly a privilege to receive multiple offers, deciding which one is the best fit for you can be stressful. With so many factors to consider, how can you be sure you're making the right choice? ADVANCE gathered advice from several career experts on how to decide among multiple job offers. Should you ever find yourself in this difficult situation, these helpful tips can help guide your decision.

Look for red flags. According to Nicole Cox, chief recruitment officer at Decision Toolbox, a national recruiting firm, you should think of the interview process like dating. "If anything is bothering you during the dating/interviewing portion of the relationship, then it is not going to get better when you're married," she analogized. This means that if you aren't overjoyed about the job opportunity or if it doesn't match your long-term goals, you should probably turn it down. "Trust your instincts -- if you're sensing dishonesty, feeling disrespected, or believe they have an issue making a decision, then walk away," Cox said. Put simply, if it doesn't feel like a fit, then it probably isn't.

Determine your priorities. Try to differentiate between what you want and what you actually need in a new job. Do you want the job with the best compensation package or a job that you will really love? According to Cox, compensation and benefits influence job decisions more than they should. "People often make decisions based on the bigger compensation package," she said. Cox thinks that's a mistake.

In addition to reviewing the entire compensation and benefits package, you should consider these questions:

  • Does the position meet your long-term goals? 
  • Is the environment one that you're excited to work in on a daily basis? 
  • Will you have personal and career growth in this organization? 
  • Does the employer have the tools, resources and training you need to be successful in the role? 

You should also consider things such as the job schedule, the commute, the company's reputation, and the position turnover rate -- all of which can (and should) influence your final decision.

Consider the company culture. Fitting in with the company's culture is critical because it impacts success, productivity and turnover. "There is a difference between tolerating something and thriving," Cox stressed. Clashing with a company's culture can be distracting and impact your mood and productivity -- as well as anyone who comes into contact with you.

Job OffersTo evaluate the company's culture, you should do research and ask questions about the company's values, goals and practices while interviewing. According to Cox, failing to do so is the biggest mistake candidates can make in his or her job search. "You have to interview the company," she said. "You need to walk away with an understanding of the leadership style." What does the training or onboarding look like for your role? What are the expectations in the first 30, 60 or 90 days?

Assess the job duties. "Don't forget about the very thing that attracted you to the role -- the job posting," said Michael Moradian, executive director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. "Reassess each one and gauge what sounds most fun, challenging and exciting," he continued. You should visualize performing the duties of each role, because as Moradian said, it's the day-to-day activities that are the reality of the professional experience, not the fun perks or the cool work space.

Think about the long-term. Most people put their long term first, which, according to Moradian, is wise if that's what you value most. "Taking a job with slightly lower pay might be worth it if they give you the opportunity to grow," he said. Take into account future growth opportunities within the company or how the company might prepare you for your next job.

Ask for advice. As Moradian said, it's never a bad idea to ask for advice. Speak with your support system and surround yourself with people in your industry to get insight. "Joining a professional organization is the best way to expand your network and build meaningful relationships with people who can provide impactful advice for your career," Moradian said.

Make sure to turn down the other offer(s) in a professional manner. When it comes to turning down an offer, candidates should be respectful, according to Kendra Bissonette, a recruitment specialist with Insight Performance, a Boston-based human resources consulting and employee benefits firm. "You never know what is going to happen down the road with the job you accept, and you may be looking again," she said.

Exhibiting professional behavior is also important for future networking opportunities. "Candidates should remember to thank everyone who took the time to meet with them through the interview process," Bissonette advised. Many candidates forget that they may want to look at opportunities with the other company at some point in the future, she said. This means that it's important to always leave a good impression, even when you're declining a job offer.

Kirsten Malenke is a staff writer at ADVANCE. Contact: kmalenke@advanceweb.com


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